(Scott McClallen | The Center Square) – Oakland County Parents sued Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford and three school districts over their mask mandates on Saturday.
The lawsuit targets Huron Valley, Waterford, and Troy schools for enforcing the county mask mandate and allegedly threatening to discipline children who violate the mask mandate.
Attorney David A. Kallman said the health department has “no legal authority” to issue a mask mandate, citing a bill signed into law last year.
“It is a shame we must request that the court uphold our clients’ legal rights,” Kallman said in a statement. “This is an improper attempt to mandate daily mask-wearing that even the [Centers for Disease Control] acknowledges has little efficacy. Defendants have no legal authority to issue or enforce the mask order. The order clearly violates our clients’ rights pursuant to state law and the Constitution.”
The lawsuit follows a Nov. 30, 2021, demand letter that the schools repeal the mask mandate and demands the districts only recommend students quarantine instead of ordering them.
In September, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Senate Bill 82 that says, “The director or a local health officer shall not issue or enforce any orders or other directives that require an individual in this state who is under the age of 18 to wear a face mask or face covering.”
The lawsuit asks the court to nullify Stafford’s mask mandate in her capacity as health officer in Order 2021-01, alleging it violates state law and for an injunction barring any future similar orders. The lawsuit also claims the mask order violates the First Amendment because no religious accommodation is allowed.
“Plaintiffs contend there is no sound basis for the K-12 mask mandate: cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Michigan among school-aged children do not justify this mandate; and according to the state’s own data, only 0.01% of Michigan students have been infected with COVID-19, meaning that it was not a significant contribution to community spread,” the suit says.
Separately, another Oakland County group called Walled Lake Citizens for Parental Rights demanded on Feb. 4, 2022, that the Walled Lake School District repeal its mask mandate or it will sue.
“Over the past several months, Walled Lake Citizens for Parental Rights has made numerous efforts to convince the Walled Lake Consolidated School District to stop their misuse of taxpayer funds enforcing a mask mandate in violation of state law,” spokesperson Nathan Pawl said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the district has not listened to the voices of parents and students, and we must now proceed with legal action to stop this misuse of taxpayer funds and the erosion of public trust that accompanies it.”